Welcome to another installment of Thrifty Threads, AKA Most Stylish Compact-y outfit, where readers model their favorite secondhand clothes.
A Compact-y outfit is used or recycled, from Goodwill, a thrift store, a consignment shop, ebay, craigslist, freecycle, a yard sale, or anywhere else you find secondhand clothing.
Today's models are Lisa and Marie. Marie sent me this charming photo after I wrote this post about attending Pasadena's annual Jane Austen Ball. Lisa and Marie wear their Regency attire to their own Jane Austen Ball in Rochester, New York, although Marie says that technically her gold gown should be referred to as "Regency" in quotation marks since it's not strictly authentic. Marie says it's made-in-India rayon, but the embroidery is done by hand. It's perfect for Thrifty Threads because it's from the Salvation Army, where she picked it up for just $7.99! Marie says it always gets a lot of compliments, and I can see why, it's a beautiful dress.
As far as her accessories, Marie describes the gold cross as "gloriously fake, but similar in design to the one given to Jane Austen by her sailor brother Charles," and it was also purchased at the flagship Syracuse Salvation Army for just $5. The gold plumes were borrowed from Lisa's extensive costume collection that comes from collectors' conventions and ebay, and the black velvet 1920s reticule bag was a gift from a friend.
Lisa's lovely lavender gown is not secondhand, it was made for her, and it's absolutely gorgeous. Lisa conducts workshops for both men and women on how to achieve the Regency look on any budget. For example, men's knee britches can be contrived from sweatpants, baseball pants, or even large-sized Capris. Her "Dressing Mr. Darcy" presentation at the Jane Austen Society's annual meeting in Philadelphia, with a distinguished lineup of models, was a big hit with the delighted audience. That sounds like so much fun! Lisa also teaches people with a few sewing skills how to transform thrift store finds into period-correct wear.
Marie has made good using of her dress: in addition to the ball, she's worn it to two JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) annual general meetings, plus for gala occasions on a JASNA tour of England last year. I didn't even know such a thing existed! To find out about events big and small, and all things Jane, go to the national JASNA website. The society is "dedicated to the enjoyment and appreciation of Jane Austen and her writing."
Marie is regional coordinator and Lisa co-coordinator of their local Syracuse region Jane Austen Society. You can read their blog about local events here.
And if you happen to live in the area and wish to attend the 2010 Rochester Jane Austen Ball in May, you can find out all the details at the Rochester Country Dancers website. Even if you can't go to the ball, you should look at Lisa's fabulous guide to Regency dress for men and women. It covers dress, hair, accessories, and jewelry and has lovely illustrations.
So if you've always wanted to attend a Jane Austen Ball and perhaps dance with a modern Mr. Darcy, now you've got all the resources you need to make your plans. It really is one of my favorite social events of the year.
Thanks Marie and Lisa for inspiring us all to look for secondhand clothing for special events. And maybe even get a few people dancing! Readers, it's your turn. Put on your favorite thrift store score, snap a photo, and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We all want to see your fabulous finds, for any occasion. I'm starting to think it's possible to have an entirely secondhand wardrobe. So keep the photos coming!
Please share your favorite tips for thrift shopping in the comments section. And click here to check out previous installments of Thrifty Threads.